Mad Professor

Moroccan Sunrise

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Moroccan Sunrise, the combined creation of Belgium's Borrah and Guyana-born Neil Fraser, is a dizzying blend of world music strains and electronic music styles. Fraser is of course best known as the Mad Professor, producer of both the Dub Me Crazy and Black Liberation Dub sets. Borrah -- the moniker for brothers Hamra Hassan, Hamra Abdelfetah, Hamra Mohammed, and Hamra Aziz -- draws their greatest inspiration from the traditions of North Africa (hence the album title). Following the release of two acclaimed Professor-mixed Borrah albums (Tell Them and Travel in a Dream), group and producer collaborated on these 17 tracks. Set-opener "The Moon" is a slice of watery, late-night electro that seduces with tinkling pianos, breezy synths, and keyboard chords set adrift with ultra-slow echo. "My Brothers" achieves a similar effect via a lulling hip-hop beat. Dirty synth patterns bubble from the mix and you could be visiting Massive Attack's Mezzanine. "I Am in Dar Bouaza" layers changing drum patterns over a chattering foundation, setting up a series of enticing polyrhythms. Those hoping for at least one example of Professor's electro-dub won't be disappointed either. The sparse skank of "Rumours" would sit comfortably on one of his Dub Me Crazy volumes, while the rhythm behind "From the Desert" is undoubtedly one of the finest in his catalog. Though this fact is obvious from the song's opening bars, the mix strips away all superfluous elements during its second half for substantially heavy results. At worst, the compositions here feel like intriguing templates awaiting further exploration, which is hardly a major criticism. Moroccan Sunrise is a rich and expansive set that has the potential to attract a variety of audiences.

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